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Friday, March 21, 2008

Bill Richardson Endorses Obama

posted by on March 21 at 8:45 AM

This one’s gotta hurt for Clinton. I mean, Bill and Bill watched the Super Bowl together!

Mr. Obama’s address on race in Philadelphia on Tuesday appeared to sway Mr. Richardson, who sent word to the senator that he was inspired and impressed by the speech, in which Mr. Obama called for an end to the “racial stalemate” that has divided Americans for decades. Aides said the endorsement was locked down over the following two days.

In a statement, Mr. Richardson hailed Mr. Obama’s judgment and ability to be commander-in-chief — qualities that Mrs. Clinton has called into question in recent weeks on the campaign trail.

“I believe he is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime leader that can bring our nation together and restore America’s moral leadership in the world,” Mr. Richardson said in the statement, provided by the Obama campaign early Friday morning.

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I'm sure he can identify with Obama's bi-racial/bi-national background. Richardson's mother was from Mexico and Richardson grew up in Mexico City.

Despite this, I was always under the impression he was a big Clintonite. Wasn't he the one who was constantly defending Hillary during the big debates?

Posted by Jason | March 21, 2008 8:48 AM

Yep, that was pretty much my impression too, Jason. Which is about the only thing that makes this news. Otherwise, he's just a nobody governor from a nowhere state.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | March 21, 2008 8:56 AM

Here is my press release based on Gov Richardson's remarks:

"As a gay man in a long term relationship with another man, I was particularly touched by Obama's words. I have been troubled by the demonization of the LGBT community--specifically same sex couples-- by too many in this country. Hate crimes against LGBTs are rising as a direct result and now, in tough economic times, people look for scapegoats and I fear that people will continue to exploit our differences--and place blame on others not like them . We all know the real culprit -- the disastrous economic policies of the Bush Administration and the ongoing ambivalence of Democrats that find the courage to talk about race and political scapegoating but draw the line at making connections between those issues and bigotry enacted against the LGBT community even though we blamed the gays for the defeat of John Kerry in 2004."

Posted by patrick | March 21, 2008 9:00 AM

This is also news because other than Edwards, he was the last guy to drop out and he's a very well respected negotiator and statesman (UN Ambassador, Secretary of Energy, several trips abroad to negotiate the release of hostages in Sudan, N. Korea, etc). Thus, someone with lots of foreign policy experience believes Obama has what it takes which may offset HRC and McCain's claims that he's inexperienced and thus unable to handle the job.

Additionally, if Obama gets the nomination, Richardson's endorsement will play well in NM and possibly other SW states. I wouldn't be surprised if his endorsement nets Obama enough votes in the general here in NM to give him the win, whereas I'm really not sure HRC can win here.

So, while not a completely huge deal, it is more than just some unknown governor of some irrelevant state.

Posted by md | March 21, 2008 9:08 AM

Doesn't matter. Obama won't get the nom. Dems are cowards. McCain will trounce Hillary in Nov.

Posted by McCain/Crist '08! | March 21, 2008 9:22 AM

Richardson was my personal first choice for the dem nomination and I am happy that he has come forward with his support for Obama. His sense of decency, which was apparent during the debates in which he defended Hillary, is evident in his reasons for endorsing Barak. Speaking of decency and Fairness I think it would be a good idea for many of you to view the complete sermons by Rev. Wright to put his comments into context. Hopefully as the truth is revealed we will be less likely duped by those in the media who desire to uphold the status quo.

Posted by djh | March 21, 2008 9:30 AM

@2: "just a nobody governor from a nowhere state"

Well then, what exactly qualifies a "big deal" endorsement to you? This guy is a governor, a superdelegate, a United Nations ambassador, served on Bill Clinton's cabinet, and a major figure in the Hispanic community.

This might not be the the biggest news in the world, but seriously, how is this guy a "nobody?"

Posted by JC | March 21, 2008 9:33 AM

She really, really needs to drop out. This is becoming a sad spectacle on her part.

Posted by Trey | March 21, 2008 9:38 AM

@2: Nowhere state ?

Being my home state, I first got mad at you. But actually please spread aroud your sentiment about New Mexico because we don't need more idiots crowding Canyon Road or trying to get into The Shed for lunch.

Posted by raindrop | March 21, 2008 9:41 AM

in other words, i want to be VP.

and i concur. he's a fine choice since Wesley Clark threw his lot in with HRC.

Posted by max solomon | March 21, 2008 9:46 AM

The Clinton team must've done something to really piss him off. He's pretty close to them.

Posted by tsm | March 21, 2008 9:48 AM

JC, have you ever BEEN to New Mexico? OK, I really like Albuquerque. For a bit more, shall we say earthiness, Raton and some of the other towns in the northern mountains are pretty alright. Taos and Santa Fe are great scabs of rich, super-hip, white yuppies on a rusting undercarriage of (mostly illegal) Mexicans. And the rest of the state - well, nobody would miss it much if it disappeared. Yes, from these humble origins, Richardson has built an impresshve career, and I respect him for that. But let's not kid ourselves here either: New Mexico is no New York or California.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | March 21, 2008 9:53 AM

So all of you O-Bysmals are usually decrying that everything is race race race race and never about issues

oh but in this instance it's GREEEEAT!

Posted by Non | March 21, 2008 9:54 AM

I like Richardson, and I wish he had realized that HRC's now likely to get the nomination, but I'm not losing any sleep over this one. There are lots of good Veep options.

Obama supporters who say that this is some straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back regarding her staying in the race: keep dreamin'. She's going all the way to the convention. Deal with it.

Posted by Big Sven | March 21, 2008 10:00 AM

Wait -- how is Hillary going to get the nom, Sven? Obama's close to clinching even with a huge loss in PA.

Posted by Fnarf | March 21, 2008 10:05 AM

Fnarf - don't you see it? Hillbot has wisely just been sitting around with her mouth closed (letting her minions perform her dirty work), while Obama has been making great, stirring speeches, yet still dropping in the polls. In a world of negative campaigning and overblown media saturation, it's better to do nothing and stay in the sidelines than to be active in the spotlight.

Posted by boyd main | March 21, 2008 10:19 AM


Wha? If Obama and Clinton split the remaining states 50-50, he goes into the convention with 1698 pledged delegates, still needing 327 delegates. How is he close to clinching?

Yes, he will go into the convention with more pledged delegates than Clinton. So what. If the supes break for Clinton, as I suspect they will, she will be the nominee.

Posted by Big Sven | March 21, 2008 10:38 AM

I think it's possible the super delegates will break for Hillary. But likely?

If leaders like Pelosi or Richardson were pushing hard for Hillary, I'd believe it. But I don't see the leadership wanting to try to sell a candidate that lacks legitimacy. If she comes in second, neither Democrats nor the electorate in general is going to buy it. Has anybody shown enthusiasm for overruling the popular vote?

Posted by elenchos | March 21, 2008 10:46 AM

You caught me, elenchos. I was using the presumptive close sales technique in the whole "possible" vs. "likely" thing. I'm partisan.

The supes choosing HRC is not "overruling the popular vote," though. The supes have as much right to choose whoever they want as the citizens of Pennsylvania do. It's an argument, though a partisan one and not at all agreed upon, that they have some mythical responsibility to follow the primary and causus results.

The Democratic Party is a club, and the club officers have a larger vote than the average members. They used to have *all* the vote, now they have ~1/3 of the vote. If you want them to have 0/3, change the rules for next time.

Posted by Big Sven | March 21, 2008 11:00 AM

Would have been nice if this endorsement came before the TX pri-caucus, but still a pretty big score for Obama.

@ Big Sven: By any realistic prediction of outcome of the remaining contests, Obama will also end up with a significant lead in votes cast. He will then have a far better pitch for the superdelegates ("I'm the choice of the voters") than anything Hillary has ("I won more of the states that aren't too small, too black or too caucus-y to count") AND his lead in pledged delegates means Hillary will have to sway far more superdelegates than he will. Barring a totally unforseeable Obama meltdown, Hillary is not getting the nomination. You might want to start coming to terms with that fact.

Heck, this won't even go to the convention. Once PA votes the conventional wisdom will catch up with the fact that there aren't enough votes left for Hillary to catch up - and superdelegates will start breaking for Obama. For that reason, the fact that a guy who was as close to the Clintons as Richardson endorsed Obama is huge.

Posted by MplsKid | March 21, 2008 11:00 AM


(White Bear Bear class of '87, Golden Gopher class of '92! Yah dere boy!)

Obama will have something like 53% of the votes cast. I don't call that a significant lead. If he had 60%, perhaps. But he doesn't, and he won't.

She will win PA by at least 10%.

You may be right- Minnesotans are extraordinarily intelligent. The supes could break for Obama. But I think not.

Posted by Big Sven | March 21, 2008 11:05 AM

@2 & 12: NM is a major center for nuclear defense and weapons development. Sure, gentrification and trustafarianism has all but ruined Santa Fe and Taos, but NM remains one of the most historically dynamic, multi-cultural, and beautiful states in the US. Acoma Pueblo, anyone? Mesa Verde? Pueblo Revolt of 1680? Trail of Tears? The Fucking Manhattan Project? Site location of No Country for Old Men? Major shit went down in that corner of our country. Go Obama!

Posted by boom | March 21, 2008 11:05 AM

I heard somewhere that they were building a New Mexico somewhere north of the border, but I didn't know they'd already elected a governor!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | March 21, 2008 11:19 AM

BigSven -

(grew up in IL, St. Olaf class of '04)

I agree, PA will break heavily for Hillary, and Obama will end up with a less than thumping lead in the popular vote. Still, its a lead, and he can also lay claim to winning more contests and (probably) raising more dollars than Hillary. Along with the pledged delegates, he will be leading in every measurable count (with the exception, of course, of the superdelegate count - of which he only needs a minority in order to clinch). He can then argue that giving the nomination to Hillary thwarts the "will of the party" - which of course the supers can do, but why would they want to?

Hillary will pitch them the "I'm more experienced" argument (debatable at best), the "My wins count for more because they're in big states" argument (nonsense on its face) . . . and what else? I just don't see how she neutralizes Obama on this.

So in true Minnesotan fashion, I guess we'll have to (politely, of course) agree to disagree.

Posted by MplsKid | March 21, 2008 11:29 AM


No, Democratic superdelegates don't have a responsibility to support the candidate with a majority of delegates. But don't fool yourself into thinking that they won't be considering this carefully. Even if most superdelegates think Hillary is more electable, they still have to consider how the appearance of overriding the popular vote will affect the party -- and Hillary's chances.

Posted by keshmeshi | March 21, 2008 11:35 AM

I'm so proud to be a white-trash desert rat new mexican!

Posted by catnextdoor | March 21, 2008 11:36 AM

@22, um, Mesa Verde's in Colorado.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | March 21, 2008 11:43 AM

Here in NM, people worship Richardson. He's provided virtually free health care for everyone, brought in the 3+ billion dollar movie business, and many other things.

People are going to follow his lead before they follow Hilz.

Posted by catnextdoor | March 21, 2008 11:45 AM

kesh@25: you're right, of course. But a boy can dream...

Posted by Big Sven | March 21, 2008 1:53 PM


"The Democratic Party is a club, and the club officers have a larger vote than the average members. They used to have *all* the vote, now they have ~1/3 of the vote. If you want them to have 0/3, change the rules for next time."

this is just pathetic after listening to you bitch for weeks about changing the rules and seating FL and MI. hyper pathetic.

Posted by cochise. | March 21, 2008 2:24 PM


The situations are different. The Dems have been divvying voting power between supes and delegates since 1972. The situation in MI and FL is totally new this year, and in FL complicated by the fact the (Republican controlled) state legislature made the decision to move the date up AGAINST THE WISHES of the state Democratic party. Plus from a "what really matters is winning in the fall", you can't argue that ignoring FL and MI is a good thing for our party.

But ultimately? I can live with letting the supes make up their own minds, and telling FL and MI to fuck off. That's the letter of the law, after all. Can you, if the supes break for Clinton?

Posted by Big Sven | March 21, 2008 4:13 PM

Big Sven-

Yes, totally. I'm glad you're coming to your senses. all rules appearances of bending the rules to suit a losing candidate. whether i agree with their decision is another story and that can be dealt with later (coincidentally with votes!).

the governors of fl and mi are the ones that told their constituents to fuck off.

the next time i go streaking, and make a big spectacle, i can only assume i'll get arrested. i'll have no one to blame but myself. not the ump with the puffy moustache that tackled me (howard dean). no do-overs. no let's do it over, but this time with my cloths on.

but if we do get to do do-overs in MI and FL, seat their delegates, whatever, i say washington state holds their next presidential primary for the 2012 election in 2010. that would be SO COOL...think of all the publicity! and chances are they will let us retake it. COOL 2.0!

Posted by cochise. | March 21, 2008 6:00 PM

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